Thursday, May 10, 2007

Lost, and Reading Cash Hands: TPTK at the River

Let me start today by congratulating Bayne on winning I believe his first Mookie on Wednesday night. Amazingly, Bayne appears to have been the very first person to sign up out of 75 players in the Mook this week, so that just goes to show you that the most eager guy can take it all down sometimes. Congrats to Bayne, a fairly new blogger but always a fun read, both in his own posts and in his comments to others', for a job very well done. I did not play the Mookie due to Lost just melting my brain for an hour straight (I will admit to stealing this phrase from this guy from our chat on Wednesday evening, thanks Mike!), but as much as I'm looking forward to Lost these next couple weeks, I am looking just as much forward to really being able to sit down and really play the Mookie for the first time in months in just a few short weeks as well, once Lost is over for the next five years or until whenever they decide to start Season 4. I'm not holding my breath, but lord knows we aren't seeing any more of Lost this year.

Btw about Lost, I don't even know where to begin. That episode weirded me out so many times that I barely even can make sense of what really happened. So Ben was not born on the island, and I guess he participated in an overthrow of sorts of his own Dharma people (killing them, apparently?) in favor of the natives on the island. And does Jacob really exist? I would say they want us to think "yes" to that. But wtf was that then? And didn't Locke maybe see a face for a split second there while Jacob was going crazy and shaking all the shit up in there? I'm thinking Jacob is supposed to be real, although I don't even have an effclue who or what he is. That whole Jacob thing has thrown most of what I was expecting to happen on the show for a complete loop. And is our boy really dead, lying there in that mass grave? I mean, for real dead -- you know, like Boone dead or AnnaLucia dead, not like Mikhail dead, or Nikki dead or Jack's dad dead. I mean dead dead, is he really? That was not foreseen.

I don't see how they get out of killing Charlie this season, with all the hubbub they've made of that whole business. He's gotta be a goner. I also have this feeling Ben might not make it to next season, as he seems to be angering more and more of his "followers". And oh yeah, did I already ask this, wtf is Jacob? Does he even effing exist? Someone please tell me the story there.

I actually didn't find out as much about the actual island as I'd really have liked to, to be honest. I learned a lot about Ben and about the genesis of the Others, fine, but my DVR told me that on this episode, "Ben reveals the mysteries of the island to Locke". I don't think so. D+ on that summary right there. How about "Ben explains the origins of Dharma." Took me about 4 seconds to think that one up. That guy who writes the movie and show summaries for the Time Warner Cable system in nyc, he should be shot. On the spot. He's terrible.

Anyways, I don't really know what to say, other than that there was obviously some nice information in there, but not exactly the information I really want right now. I want to know why Ben seems to have chosen Locke for something, and what he expects from Locke. I want to know what's up with Locke's dad, and why they made him kill his father before he could be down with their shit. I want to know more about Juliette's little plan and the whole having babies thing. I want to know more about frigging Naomi, who in this episode is suddenly only in it for about 3 seconds while she is otherwise just hanging out on a bench or something. Wtf? If I was on that island, I would be grilling her ass with a million questions at all times until I got rescued, period. Now she's just sitting around, hangin out with da boyz? That is silly. Almost as silly as how they've never even wondered where that effing cable into the sea really goes, or why there would even be an effing cable coming out of the sea. In three seasons they've never even wondered about that. And let's not even get to Michael, who has been persona non grata this entire season after killing two of the Tailies in the middle of the last season in cold blood. And I'm not even going to mention the whole Libby thing. It's like they started on a story, decided they didn't like the story so killed her off instead and never continued what they'd gotten kinda far into. So ridiculous.

In all though, an awesome episode of Lost for sure. It's great actually because even though the show has lost a lot of viewers since its peak in the first or second season, suddenly with how awesome these last few shows have been, it is certainly all anybody can talk about at work and just out. I walk the streets of manhattan during lunch hour and hear men wearing suits and ties debating whether Ben is really a good guy or a bad guy. At the proverbial "water cooler" in my office, people are just stopping by to chat about Lost all the time now. People have really come out of the woodwork as the shows have gotten really good here at the end of the year. I've posted about this before but it is pretty clear to me that the writers have about 8 or 10 "good", story-driven episodes left per season, and that what happened this year was they really just tried to come up with a bunch of fluff and background to fill the first 12 or 14 episodes or so before they ran the 8 or 10 big ones. I expect more of the same over the next three seasons, and it certainly is great news that the producers have announced an end date after three 16-episode seasons following this one.

Now go over and read Goat's weekly Lost writeup, that is the place to be on Thursday mornings while the best show on tv is still running live.

OK now, isn't this supposed to be a poker blog?

So here's today's dilemma. A number of bloggers have written recently about calling significant bets with just top pair in nlh cash games, myself included. Earlier this week I ran into an interesting cash hand at the $200nl 6-max tables that I would like to share with you and get your opinions on.

Here's the setup: I'm in the cutoff and I'm dealt AQo at a 6-max table. I have $275, the biggest stack at the table, but there are three or four other nice stacks scattered around as well. The action folds around to me, so I raise it up, the standard formula pot-raise to $7. Button folds, the small blind calls for $6 more, and the big blind folds. So I'm heads up to see a flop with the small blind, and with $15.20 in the pot.

The flop comes T82 rainbow:

My opponent checks to me. How do you like to play this? Automatic c-bet?

I went for the check. Occasionally with two overcards or some other nice draw, I will occasionally check and take the free card early. Those of you who know me are aware of how often I c-bet, it's not like this is a move that I make often, but in the extreme cases where I have a number of outs I like to mix it up sometimes and check there. I don't have anything after all, and I can't even beat AK or AT if that's what he's got:

Now, the turn brings a lovely Queen, giving me top pair top kicker, and my opponent checks to me again:

Now what? Have to bet it now, right?

Right. You slow play this mofo with another check in position, and you are just begging to lose the hand. Period. You just don't want to win. I put in a nice bet of around 4/5 the size of the pot, thinking I'm probably ahead here:

To my surprise, my opponent flat calls for $12 into the $26 pot on the 8T2Q board with no flush possible at this point.

The river brings a harmless-looking 3♣, and out of nowhere my opponent up and bets, $26 into the $38 pot, for his first bet of the entire hand after a harmless river card:

This is the point of no return guys. What do you do? Review the betting here: he called a preflop raise, then he checked and I checked behind on the flop, he check-called my 3/4 potbet on the turn, and then he bet out for about 2/3 of the pot on the river, even after I had led out with the bet on the turn. Do you call, raise or fold here? I'd love to hear from all you cash game guys, including you laggro mofos and you tightydonks. You know who you are.

No riverchasers tonight. I just looked down and realized though that the FTOPS starts this Friday night! I'm already in Event #1, which is $216 buyin nlh, and I'm hoping a number of bloggers will get in there as well with this first of the big buyin quaterly FTOPS tournament series. I'll tell you what, when I log on tonight for my first serious poker of the week since the MATH, I will play in every FTOPS #1 satellite that runs for the few hours I am online. Hopefully there will be a lot of them, and I hope to see some of you there. And I plan to be in the 9:45pm ET token frenzy for a tier 2 token as well. Gotta start collecting for Don's Big Game which is just a week and a half away now, same night as the FTOPS Main Event which I will be taking down.

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Blogger Julius_Goat said...

How are you going to take down the Big Game if I am going to take it down?


Lost, there is too much.

I call there. I'd like to see more in your hot hands about your read on the guy? Over aggressive? I don't like his check on the flop and turn, then. Weakly? He might be making a stab at a pot where you've shown weakness.

I think you should call with TPTK there. You've played it so soft, even with the 1/2 turn bet, that he may just think he can take it from you. If he made a set or two pair, I think you just have to pay him off here.

9:08 PM  
Blogger slb159 said...

My guess is that he has JQ...his calls of your bets sounds like a drawing hand.

If he's slowplaying a set, I wouldn't agree with his play, but that's just me.

Or he might have JT, be an idiot and feel his top pair was good enough for a flop call, then his gutshot was good enough for a call on the turn, then when he misses, he bluff bets.

Actually no clue, cause he played it strangely, although, larger river bets I've seen tend to be bluffs.

Looking forward to the answer.

But I agree with goat. I call there.

9:23 PM  
Blogger jjok said...

A great Lost episode for sure.....I am really happy with how it's progressing.

As for the hand.

You absolutely should not raise this, that is the biggest mistake possible.....and I think that's beyond obvious.

You can fold here, but that is very weak based on the amounts involved.

I make the call and assume he has something like J9 or a turned 2 pair......but with top pair, you really should just make the call.

I'm seeing a hand like AK of diamonds (missed flush with 2 overs) or AT or KQ or QJ as possible hands that you can beat and would be bettable by your opponent.

BTW, I think AQ on that flop is a good candidate for a c-bet. But keeping it random by not betting is a good strategy over time too.

9:58 PM  
Blogger John G. Hartness said...

Okay, to take a look at his possible holding to call your position preflop raise when in a blind. If you've been at this table any lenghth of time, I'm gonna put you on a wide range of hands to be raising with, and call with anything as weak as suited connectors, ATs, KJ, KQ, maybe even the J9s, but that one's pretty remote.

Any pocket pair also calls your raise, and lots of people like to slowplay flopped sets. A couple of diamonds is also not out of the question, since the flush draw appeared on the turn, and you checked the flop.

I think you're beat by a set or QT (an often-overvalued hand in the blinds), but I make the call and file away his holding for future information.

But that's me. These statements are not to be used at a real poker table, following my style of play may produce the same results in your game that they produce in mine.

10:01 PM  
Blogger cmitch said...

Flop - I bet the flop. His call on the flop doesn't scare me because you are continuation betting with a lot of hands that miss. He may be calling with something like 2nd pair Ace kicker or some middle pairs.

Turn - You have TPTK and you have no reason to think that your hand isn't good. If he check-raises you then you can re-evaluate. (The only hands you need to worry about are J9, two pair, or a set.) He flat calls which to me means that he has probably a pair with a draw or something like A10. I think he is CR the hands I mentioned above.

River - His bet looks a lot like a mediocre hand making a blocking bet. There is no way I'm raising here. I would just flat call. If he rivered a set, nothing you can do. If he has a big hand, he played it horribly and you probably lost a minimum.

10:21 PM  
Blogger Fuel55 said...

You have to call the river. Never raise in this situation. You are crushed a fair amount of the time since it smells like a slowplayed monster but at least as likely is that you are good and he trying to control the pot size with his river lead. Just call and pray.

10:47 PM  
Blogger Eric a.k.a. Bone Daddy said...

Ugh, I hate hands that play out this way. I think at best you are break even overtime with these so I tend to fold and set them up for later, I love a guy that thinks he can bluff me off any hand.

However, i'm a sucka, and tend to take the bait more than I should. If you laid out all the hands with 2 overs and one gap connectors, your hand may be a loser heads up. Anyone with Poker stove want to do the math?

(K-J), blusted flush, 7-9, a-10, J-10, K-10 vs. j-9, q-10, q-8, 10-8, 2-3 or A-Q?

11:31 PM  
Blogger smokkee said...

i like the way u played this. i don't mind that u didn't auto c-bet with air on the flop and i'm def calling the river bet. i would not raise it.

11:37 PM  
Blogger Pseudo_Doctor said...

I would agree with fuel and say you have to call the river and never raise its standard there. However by not betting the flop u've pretty much duffed the hand in my opinion and have no idea where you opponents stands. He could have a set, j9 or something like Qj or hit 333 on the river.

Had you bet the flop and got called u can narrow his range a bit...once again this is where ACEHUD comes into play and u can see from his percentages on folding to a continuation bet whether or not he has a hand...GET ACEHUD ur life will become easier

11:42 PM  
Blogger jremotigue said...

I think Locke is Jacob in some strange time-warp/alternative universe thing. Everyone in the Others wants Locke to be the leader. Ben killed his dad. So Locke had to match him. That's why Ben humiliated Locke in front of the group in the previous episode - sort of a "Who's your daddy-killer" taunt.

Of course, I'm probably 100% off. Great episode.

12:09 AM  
Blogger Matt said...

So much to say about this post.

On the hand, the only option I see is calling. Everyone else has mentioned the reasons why already.

About Lost:

1. I don't think Locke is dead. Whoever or whatever Jacob is wants him alive. He cured his paralysis, he'll cure his gunshot wound too.

2. Love the subtle hostility Alex shows toward Ben. She didn't give Locke the gun to use on Jacob, she gave it to him because she knew what Ben was up to, and that Locke would need it in self-defense (although I missed this: did Ben have his own gun or did he jack it from Locke?)

3. So was the sonic barrier really turned on when Mikhael was pushed through it (and it was weak enough to just make his ears bleed), or was he faking it somehow? Either way, I hate his character because his survival is so unbelievable.

4. What I really want to find out is what happened from the time Ben helped kill Dharma to the point where his little community is created. Where did people like Tom, Pickett, and all of "the others" come from?

5. Finally, how is it that the "Richard" guy hasn't aged in about 30 years? And how does he go from being some dude wandering around in the forest to helping to recruit Juliet to the island?

And of course, I have the same "WTF is Jacob" question that we ALL still have.

I think a lot of people should be disappointed with this episode because it really didn't have the big reveal it was hyped to have. But it's given us so many new questions to ponder that we're willing to overlook it.

12:30 AM  
Blogger Matt Silverthorn said...

Everyone else has pretty much explained all the aspects of the hand. I'm in agreement. You don't want to raise, and you pretty much have to call.

12:35 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Wow. Another great hand from Hammer. I haven't looked at the comments below.
This is obviously either a drawing hand and a bluff or a set or a straight.
Would he call a raise with J,9? In a 6-max game, it's not a bad play, especially to a raise from an aggressive player such as yourself.
I really need a read on the guy.

If he's solid, I fold. This just screams set or possibly straight, but a solid player would probably not play with J,9. Plus the fact that you bet into it on the turn, he's out of position and yet bets anyway on the river tells me he's not afraid of a raise. I doubt he has a Q or he would have bet. He would call preflop with any pair, I'm assuming. And the flop wasn't super could be slowplayed.

If he's really aggro, I call and hope he's bluffing.

Most of the time, I fold. Yes I'm a tighty.

1:26 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

From a different perspective, I like mixing it up like your opponent did, with air if I'm playing an opponent that can fold or by hitting something and making that bet against those that will mostly call.

Smooth calling from the blinds then leading out OOP gives your opponent zero information, it puts them on their heels, and it leaves them pretty much to guess where they are.

As for your questions I don't like automatic C-bets. I think you have to randomize betting and checking with and without hitting the flop. The biggest online tells I pick up on people, including a few that have posted above, are their betting patterns.

What you do here on the river is read dependent. It's such a tough spot but my guess is he has two pair and you're beat.

2:02 AM  
Blogger Gnome said...

You need to be ahead 40 percent of the time (26/64) to justify a call. I think your tptk has a good chance of winning against your opponent's range, so I would call.

2:41 AM  
Blogger jremotigue said...

Tagged. See my last post.

2:46 AM  
Blogger AnguilA said...

I don't give him much credit for a big hand. If he had something decent he would have raised the turn. I call for sure (never raise since you should only get called by hands that beat your TPTK).

When in position I sometimes choose the delayed c-bet, where you control the pot size and still leave yourself with the chance to pick up the pot, but I usually fire the normal c-bet (you get info about your opponent's hand earlier).

1:57 PM  

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